It is necessary to draw attention to the fact that nowadays we notice that haiku is being written in a format quite different from the three-line haku. Several poets like Marlene Mountain, John Wills, and Matsuo Allard and jim Kacian have used a single line haiku. The fact is that we should not prescribe any technique for writing haiku. This freedom will really enlighten the audience. Adam Donaldson Powell aptly says in his haiku APHORISM:
seventeen random syllables
don't always add up
to a haiku
While writing this book Haiku for the Present, I have kept in mind that we should not be enslaved to the 5-7-5 pattern. In fact, some of the best haiku have been written without any blind adherence to 'kigo' and 17 syllables.
Let me quote some of the best haiku by contemporary poets across the globe
Labyrinth of Vilnius:
a ghost of rain
-Ban'ya Natsuishi (Japan)
The two of us
for whom the wind is not enough:
-Sayumi Kamakura (Japan)
the world is empty.
So I imbue with meaning
You, mountain ash
-Kornelijus Platelis (Lithuania)
stole my CDs
except Rod Stewart. Junkies
don't like Rod Stewart
-Joseph Spence (USA)
The injured dream
a red poppy
-Yuko Tange (Japan)
Rain takes a break
Jaded by its own languor
White clouds and sunlight
-Jan Oskar Hansen
mither an dochter
settin aff bulbs -
the derk yirth
mother and daughter
planting bulbs -
the dark earth
(winner kukai 5: haiku Ireland)
- John McDonald
Little birds aware
Beg for breadcrumbs to share now
Open beaks devour
- Barbara Elizabeth Mercer
the entire world
a natural rainforest
Put your nightstick down
Clouds thundering overhead
Wash me clean with rain
-Scott Michael Potter
Green babbling brook
Sing song blackbird circling
-Diana Kwiatkowski Rubin
Bill Cooper, Distinguished University Professor and President Emeritus, University of Richmond is a born haiku poet. The following haiku by him is an imperishable utterance creating peak of poetry:
a gentle slope
The most important thing for a haiku poet is to have passion for truth, beauty and spiritual power. Great haiku poets always create 'haiku moment' that with its delicate rainbow hues produces an extraordinary emotional hold on the readers. In the poetry of Homer, Sophocles, Virgil, Dante and Shakespeare we find this 'haiku moment' though they didn't write haiku. This is precisely the case with the following immortal lines uttered by Lear with Cordelia's dead body in his arms in Shakespeare's King Lear:
Thou'it come no more
Never, never, never, never, never!
Prof. Moshé Liba and Albert Russo are able to create 'haiku' moment in their poems. Prof. Liba has published more than 60 books, and he writes in six languages. In his poem "A Poem, a week", the reader is mesmerized by the 'haiku moment' in the last two lines:
I read a poem in Dutch,
ranslated into Polish.
And it was not
In Albert Russo, we are amazed at the poet's intensity of impassioned emotion:
I shall spoil you as no lover
Ever has or will
I have tried in these haiku to present an ideal version of the world. Here we may remember that Azsacra Zarathustra seeks in his haiku "uniting of the Western Wolf of Nihilism and the Eastern Dragon of Negation":
even in Nothing
to leave no
The contemporary disillusionment and loss of spiritual values failed to diminish my faith that our haiku should be inspired by our fellowship with the Almighty God. While writing this haiku book, I talked with God often. I used to talk to Him about my problems.
I was thus motivated to write several sacred haiku included in Haiku of the Present. The following quotes influenced me greatly:
1. God designed the program of prayer as an 'apprenticeship' for eternal sovereignty with Christ.
-Paul E. Billheimer
2. I am an historian, I am not a believer, but I must confess as a historian that this penniless preacher from Nazareth is irrevocably the very center of history. Jesus Christ is easily the most dominant figure in all history.
3. "I had rather be in hell with Christ, then be in heaven without him."
4. "The man that believes will obey; failure to obey is convincing proof that there is no true faith present. To attempt the impossible God must give faith or there will be none, and He gives faith to the obedient heart only."
-A. W. Tozer
4. I thank God for the honesty and virility of Jesus religion which makes us face the facts and calls us to take a man's part in the real battle of life.
-Henry Van Dyke
The haiku included in Haiku of the Present are influenced by Zen meditation. The Japanese word zen is derived from the Chinese word Chán, taken from the Sanskrit word dhyana (meditation).
The main emphasis of zen is on the direct experience of our original or Buddha nature. The scriptures and abstract theories of religion are of no help in self-realization. Zen was founded by Bodhidharma .
The main characteristics of zen are: zazen (sitting meditation), walking meditation, understanding paradoxical koans (story or dialogue). "The infinite is in the finite of every instant" (zen proverb). Nobel Laureate Samuel Beckett's remark-"Nothing is more real than nothing" gives us the clue to know the essence of zen.
The Zen followers say: "Just be stll and know." This will increase awareness of the present moment. This reduces stress and tension.
Zen leads to eternal life. Bodhidharma, the founder of Zen in China in the vth century, taught the practice of "wall-gazing." A Zen monk remarks: "I do nothing. I just sit empty and that's all I do."
The practice of zazen or seated meditation is indispensable for attaining salvation. Bodhidharma did zazen in cave for nine years. "For thirty years I did zazen continuously except for two meal periods. Ryokan aptly says:
I don't know others
Others don't know me
By not knowing we follow nature's course.
It is my great pleasure to acknowledge my gratitude to Katya Ganeshi who kindly allowed me to use her magnificent photo for the cover. I'm deply thankful to Karunesh Kumar Agrawal for kind cooperation in bringing out this book.
I am greatly obliged to Adam Donaldson Powell, Albert Russo, Azsacra Zarathustra, Bhuwan Thapaliya, Ban'ya Natsuishi, Dennis E. Newell, Eric Tessier, Floriana Hall, Frieda Groffy, Gary Alexander Azerier , James Skinner, Jim Kacian, Joseph Aprile, Joseph Spence, Sr., Louie Levy, María Cristina Azcona, Mario Susko, Moshé Liba, R. Leland Waldrip, Roger W. Harrington, Rosa Maria DelVecchio, Sal Amico M. Buttaci, Sayumi Kamakura, Shirley Bolstok, Steve Mogg, Steve Morris, Yvonne Sparkes, Wojciech Plocharski. It is a pleasure to acknowledge, with a very deep sense of gratitude, the help, cooperation, generous support and kindness of these creative authors and artists.